Olivia Ellis is a senior at Gallatin concentrating in Transcribing Culture, a concentration that combines filmmaking and stagecraft techniques with social and cultural theory and historical analysis. She was born in France and raised in Massachusetts, where she discovered her love of stage management and photography. Since then, she has branched out into set design, production design, art direction, producing, writing, and more. Coming to NYU and immersing herself in such a beautiful diverse community, and learning more about how diversity does and doesn’t manifest itself in pop culture, has inspired Olivia’s coursework as well as her artistic process.
Black Snake Killers
This work is inspired by the water protectors at Standing Rock, specifically those who formed the International Indigenous Youth Council. Their mission was to involve younger generations of Native Americans in their fight to protect their land and their water, a mission they have carried beyond Oceti Sakowin camp. As Native American youth and non-Native allies, they built a family and a home at Standing Rock. I was frustrated by the disconnect I saw between my experiences at Standing Rock—which were peaceful, prayerful, and full of hope—and the portrayals of camp by mainstream media outlets. I am lucky to belong to an academic community that gives me a stage and a voice, so I’ve chosen to transmit stories told by my friends and allies at Standing Rock, as well as my own experiences, to a New York audience.